My week of all-new Marvel Universe action figure reviews begins tonight with the Asian-bodied British ninja telekinetic sometimes-telepath, Betsy Braddock–Psylocke! Psylocke is the first review, but you can see them all in the Toy Reviews Index. If you asked me who my favorite female X-Men member is, I’d instantly reply “Psylocke”. If you asked me why, I’d cite the “Marvel vs. Capcom 2” and “X-Men Legends” video games. If you asked me for her comic book backstory, I’d stare at you blankly and mumble something about body-swapping, robot eyes, Captain Britain , dimensional hopping with the Exiles and the Mojoverse. But if you asked me about this Psylocke action figure, I’d be able to reply immediately: “It’s pretty great, except that if you look her in the face she may turn you to stone.”
Psylocke is my first Marvel Universe female action figure, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d heard a lot of complaints about the quality of prior Marvel Universe females, but Psylocke surprised me by being exceptional in most ways.
Some toy companies will cheap out on a figure’s articulation just because that figure is a woman. That’s not the case with Psylocke. Psylocke is just as articulated or more than any Marvel Universe figure I have. She has 17 points of articulation: ball-jointed head (restricted by her hair), ball-jointed shoulders and hips, elbows, ankles, double-jointed knees, swivel wrists, waist, and torso. I would’ve liked ankle rockers and a bit more mobility for her head, but otherwise Psylocke has every bit of essential articulation for posing.
Hasbro has blessed us with two accessories: a translucent pink psionic kitana and the ubiquitous energy attachment. The kitana looks good, and allows for some cool dueling poses with Jedi and GI Joe ninjas. I’m excited they gave Psylocke a second accessory as well, even if it is the much-recycled energy attachment. I imagine the energy attachment is meant to simulate Psylocke’s psyblade, and it’s good enough, although I obviously would have preferred something a little more knife-like and similar to the source material. Hasbro has more than gotten their money out of the energy attachment they created for Wave 1 way back in 2008–it’s time for a change.
Let me cut straight to it: Instead of looking like a babe-alicious hot chick, Psylocke looks crazy evil. This is mostly due to the horrid paintwork on her face. Psylocke should have blue eyes or perhaps purple, but her eye color is definitely not orange. The orange eye color chosen for this figure may have been the worst choice possible, because Psylocke looks pure evil with them.
In addition, I’m not a fan of Psylocke’s head sculpt as a whole. The purple hair looks fine from behind, but from the front it doesn’t look natural at all. The way the hair drapes over Psylocke’s head it looks more like a huge purple hood than her own hair. With her long, hard plastic strands of hair and demonic orange eyes, you may get turned to stone if you look Psylocke directly in the face.
Psylocke’s sash, while sculpted accurately, has a couple of less-pleasing qualities. First and more trivially, it’s red instead of pink. I don’t know if Psylocke is being inked with a red sash in the comics in the last year or two, but the iconic look for Psylocke is with a pink sash, so the red one used here really throws me and makes the figure’s colors look off when looking at her. Much more importantly, the sash is too big, and as a result it flops around endlessly when you move Psylocke. This is due to this sash being engineered for heftier male figures (like the Iron Fist also in this series)–it fits male figures great, but thinner females less great. If the sash had been molded a little tighter it could lock into place or at least be held there better, but instead it’s constantly twirling around whenever you move her. Despite being an important aesthetic detail of Psylocke’s costume, the sash is pretty much a nuisance.
It appears to be the end of the road for the much-beloved Marvel Universe figure stands. This series is the first 2012 set of Marvel Universe figures, and to my astonishment Hasbro has found a cheaper and crappier pack-in than the Jedi Force Files from the old Power of the Jedi line. Instead of getting a practical, often-necessary figure stand with each figure this year, collectors will now get a “Collectible Comic Shot”, which refers to a small 2″ picture of the character taken from a cover and printed on a piece of low-quality cardstock. Worse, several of the “Comic Shots” in this series pictures their character in a totally different costume than the one the figure they’re packaged with it wearing! At least the Jedi Force files gave you information about a character–these “Collectible Comic Shots” are just useless throw-aways.
At the time of writing, Marvel Universe Wave 17 has only begun to hit select specialty online retailers and hasn’t been sighted in stores as far as I know. Online, I’ve seen Psylocke available from a couple sources:
Psylocke can be a total pain to find in stores, but she’s readily available for just about retail price on ebay. You can check out the current listings for Marvel Universe Psylocke on ebay directly by clicking here.
Amazon has Psylocke available right now from several sellers with free shipping, but their prices and availability from various sellers changes incredibly rapidly.
Entertainment Earth is tied for the best price online and has the Wave 17 Set of 6 for $54.99 in-stock and ready to ship at the time of writing this review.
BigBadToyStore is also tied for the best price on the Set of 6 for Wave 17 for just $54.99 (including Psylocke, Storm, Patriot, Thunder Age Iron Man, Modern Iron Fist, and Shadowland Daredevil) . That’s essentially the retail price, which is the best you can hope for from an online store. They also have Psylocke available individually for $13.99 on pre-order.
Finally, CMDStore has the whole Wave 17 set of 6 there for $59.95.
Overall: Psylocke is by absolutely no means perfect, but I’ve seen Hasbro put out far, far, far worse female action figures. The negatives about this figure are the awful paint apps on the head, the utter stupidity of the “Collectible Comic Shot”, and the oversized, irritating red sash. But from the neck down, Psylocke is a terrific action figure loaded with articulation, mostly high-quality paint, and relevant accessories. With Psylocke we’re now just a few unannounced figures away (Bishop, Rogue) from completing the Jim Lee-era X-Men, and I couldn’t be happier.